We worry far too much about the desktop PC becoming a relic of a bygone age. Our focus, instead, should be on the monitor that the PC connects to. Indeed, as we use more and more mobile devices with integrated screens—notebooks, tablets, and smartphones—we pay much less attention to the aging, dumb monitors sitting on our desks.
But monitor makers know the score—and now they’re fighting back. Meet the monitor of the future: It’s smart, connected, and in some cases portable. Inside isn’t just an LCD panel, a backlight, and some logic tying it all together. Instead, it’s looking more and more like a tablet, complete with a CPU, a touchscreen, storage, and a full-fledged Android operating system.
Wait-wait-wait, you say. What’s the difference between a smart monitor and an all-in-one PC? Or a portable display and a tablet? Today, not much. And doesn’t connecting a keyboard to a smart monitor reproduce the functionality of a docked notebook? Yes, absolutely. But as computing components shrink in size and become more modular, manufacturers of all stripes (and this includes monitor manufactuers) gain the flexibility to try out new concepts.
Here’s what it means for you: Over time, manufacturers hope the smart monitor will replace the traditional family desktop PC. By itself, the smart monitor will serve as an inexpensive, casual computing environment for Web browsing and simple games. Connected to a laptop or tablet, however, the smart monitor becomes “dumb” at the touch of a button, letting the laptop or tablet’s CPU and OS run the show.
And over time, as embedded CPUs become cheaper and more prevalent, smart monitors will simply push older, “dumb” monitors aside.
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